Traveling to Ireland

Dear readers, I left Macon, Georgia almost exactly 24 hours ago and have arrived in Waterford, Ireland by means of:

  1. Car ride from home to Groome Transportation depot
  2. Groome shuttle bus from depot to Atlanta airport
  3. Airbus A-330 from Atlanta airport to Dublin airport
  4. JJ Kavanagh bus from Dublin airport to Waterford

All the travel went quite smoothly. When I got to Atlanta–3 hours before my flight, as directed–the security lines were moving fast and there was hardly anyone at my gate. The weather looked very interesting:

But by the time we took off, it was much less threatening. We were late taking off but made up the time along the way on a flight that, incredibly, was not full. I was crossing my fingers as boarding went on and on and no one sat down next to me. Sure enough, I wound up with an aisle seat¬†and a window seat to enjoy. Perfect for sleeping against the window, piling excess pillows and blankets on the other seat, and getting up as often as I needed to. Sometimes the air travel deities smile on me. I ordered a vegetarian meal and was surprised to discover that Delta has finally stopped serving the lentil loaf I’d eaten on my last half-dozen international flights. Now they are serving a “corn risotto” that is actually pretty good. Even more surprising: Delta flight attendants have started wearing purple uniforms after so many years in red and navy! Is it a shout-out to MGA?

Getting ready to descend into Dublin.

We landed in Dublin at 9:00 a.m. and I got a little nervous knowing my bus ticket was for 11:00. My anxiety increased when I saw the jam-packed passport control area. 4 flights from the U.S. had landed between 8:30 and 9:10 and the “Non-EU Passports” side was thronging. But the staff kept us moving and the baggage handlers had all our luggage out by the time I got through the passport line. I had time to buy a coffee, my favorite Irish bottled water (Ballygowan sparkling), and a banana before heading to board my bus.

Kavanagh Bus has a route that goes through 3-4 stops in Dublin and then straight on to 3-4 stops in Waterford including WIT. Kavanagh buses also have wi-fi and according to their website, 90% of their buses have toilets. (According to my field research, 0% of their buses have toilet paper. Bring tissues.)¬† Both of those amenities come in handy on a 2.5-hour bus ride! It was great to see Dublin again–even if only out the bus window–take in some Irish countryside, and finally be welcomed back to WIT by my colleagues here.

Ireland is gorgeous. Believe the hype.

I am all checked in at the dorm now, have been to the grocery store and made some dinner, and it is almost time for bed. The first day in Europe is always a white-knuckle fight against the desire to doze off (I will admit to a very small nap on the bus!) but then the first night’s sleep is magical. Tomorrow, planning meetings with colleagues and a visit downtown for SIM cards.

Tour consultant Jonathan and I went to get coffee and go over the calendar. All planning meetings should involve a Bakewell tart.

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